John Carter was a name I’d heard before. It was the title of a science fiction movie. The trailer featured a half-naked man jumping to extreme heights and exhibiting feats of super-human strength surrounded by crazy alien beasts. I knew it had originally been a book written by the same author as Tarzan, another book that I highly enjoyed.
The John Carter Series is something I’ve wanted to sink my teeth into for a while now, so when I saw it available as an audio book, I grabbed it 🙂
Her oval face was beautiful in the extreme, her every feature finely chisled and exquisite, her eyes large and lustrous and her head surmounted by a mass of coal black, waving hair, caught loosely into a strange yet becoming coiffure. Similar in face and figure to women of Earth, she was nevertheless a true Martian–and prisoner of the fierce green giants who held me captive, as well!
First book in Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Mars series.
A Princess of Mars was most certainly written in a different era of literature.
The book was fun, but choppy. You can tell it was originally published as a series for a magazine, sectioned by chapter into multiple mini-stories. It’s all action, skipping from one battle scene to the next. Of course, these battles are always championed by the capable John Carter, who just happens to be the strongest and fastest creature on Mars due to his advanced musculature from living on Earth (which has much higher gravity than Mars). The plot meanders, following the general theme of saving the damsel in distress, but with disjointed off-shoot stories that eventually tied back into the main story. The plot felt forced but was still fun.
On the other hand, the characters were great. A reader can see the fierce and horrible green martians battling to the death or the ambassador red martian princess in all of her glowing beauty. My favorite character had to be John Carter’s faithful animal companion, Woola, who was essentially a giant multi-legged worm with a heart of gold.
One of the funniest parts of this book had to be the psuedo-science. Considering it was written in 1912, Burroughs did his best to explain the technology of his highly advanced alien civilization. But, I’ll admit, some of the explanations were highly amusing, especially the random psychic powers and light propulsion for the airships.
Overall I’d give this book three out of three stars. It was a fun read, but had too many plot holes and redundancies for my taste.